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I am 19 months post op and although my new life is wonderful in every way, I find myself a little lost sometimes as I live in a new mental reality. As a fat person, I often hid my personality, thinking that I was not as valuable as others or that I was being judged. In a group, I was withdrawn, shy, and basically tried to be invisible. I would scan a room as soon as I walked in to identify furniture I could fit into and if there were any other large people there, but I was usually the biggest in the room. Now I am a normal weight and many people in my life (like co-workers) never knew me as anything but thin. But I still find myself hiding and shrinking away from social situations, still trying to be invisible, still feeling unworthy and that I don't measure up. To others, this can come off as snooty and stand-offish. I think this is the poisonous effect of obesity. It truly does affect us on very deep levels. It's very hard to reverse decades of shame and self loathing. I was told that I was repulsive and ugly and that people (like my mom) were embarrassed by me. I am struggling to find the "new me" as a person - someone who is confident, happy, and at ease with others. I know it will take time, and I want my psyche to be as transformed as my body. I still feel like a fat caterpillar in a butterfly body. Anyone relate? For those of you down the road, how did you make the mental transformation?

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24 minutes ago, AZhiker said:

I am 19 months post op and although my new life is wonderful in every way, I find myself a little lost sometimes as I live in a new mental reality. As a fat person, I often hid my personality, thinking that I was not as valuable as others or that I was being judged. In a group, I was withdrawn, shy, and basically tried to be invisible. I would scan a room as soon as I walked in to identify furniture I could fit into and if there were any other large people there, but I was usually the biggest in the room. Now I am a normal weight and many people in my life (like co-workers) never knew me as anything but thin. But I still find myself hiding and shrinking away from social situations, still trying to be invisible, still feeling unworthy and that I don't measure up. To others, this can come off as snooty and stand-offish. I think this is the poisonous effect of obesity. It truly does affect us on very deep levels. It's very hard to reverse decades of shame and self loathing. I was told that I was repulsive and ugly and that people (like my mom) were embarrassed by me. I am struggling to find the "new me" as a person - someone who is confident, happy, and at ease with others. I know it will take time, and I want my psyche to be as transformed as my body. I still feel like a fat caterpillar in a butterfly body. Anyone relate? For those of you down the road, how did you make the mental transformation?

I'm a guy and a bit further out.

I was 600+ pounds. Now normal for my height.

Before 2003 I was rarely seen in pictures. There were a few situations I couldn't avoid, but being tall I could stand behind everyone else. No solo pictures, no way, no how.

Post-op I am still rarely seen in pictures. There are a few situations I couldn't avoid, but being tall I could stand behind everyone else. No solo pictures, no way, no how.

In my work world, I've been a consultant for 45 years. I go to a new place, tell them how it needed to be done, I did it, then in 1-5 years when it was done, I moved on. Pre-op, I never went to social engagements, or out with staff. I was there to do a job, that's all. Post-op it's exactly the same.

The one place it has changed is just out and about.

People no longer bump into walls or poles because they are staring at me. Turnstiles don't freak me out. Restaurant seats don't freak me out. I no longer fear children. Well, I still do, but not as much. I can do physical activities as well as the next person.

And, I can DO stuff. Stuff which I never dreamed I had any inclination to do.

So, while a lot stays the same, a lot changes.

Good luck,

Tek

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AZHiker, I can relate to some parts of your story.

I still think of myself as a fat person, with all of the insecurities and self-doubt that entails. In spite of academic and career success, my parents always let me know that they considered me a failure because of my weight. (Unfortunately, neither of them lived to see me after surgery.) I know that had a huge impact on my self-image.

Unlike you, I think I compensated for my weight by being extremely outgoing and "the life of the party." I was basically the stereotype of the "jolly fat person" because I thought it was necessary in order to be liked and accepted. At work, I think people never took me seriously or saw me as a threat--I was just the wise-cracking fat guy.

After losing the weight, it's almost as though I'm not sure who I am. I've definitely noticed that people react to me differently since I've lost weight, and I no longer feel the need to have an over-the-top personality. I think this represents an opportunity to be judged for who I am and not how I look. That's unknown territory for me, and I'm trying to figure out how to navigate it. Losing the weight was much faster than no longer seeing myself as a fat and inferior person, which will take a while longer.

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Wow AZhiker you have so succinctly and eloquently described the mental pain of being obese. I never gotten thin but I try to go against my emotional reaction to withdraw but it is very difficult. People don't see me or don't want to see me. but It try to get out of my own head.

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20 hours ago, AZhiker said:

I still feel like a fat caterpillar in a butterfly body. Anyone relate? For those of you down the road, how did you make the mental transformation?

By having come to the conclusion that there is no "former fat person" and no "new me". There is just "me". And it was always only "me".

We all evolve as people with the experiences in life we make. Education, relationships, work, coping with a chronic illness (obesity) etc. - "weight" is one of these factors. I know many shy people who feel awkward in social situations who were never fat, so maybe the shy fat person will simply be the shy thin person because it's simply their personality.

By far not all fat people are shy and they're by far not always "the jolly ones". I know many fat people who're seen as confident people being good at their jobs. Most likely they will still be confident people should they ever lose weight.

On a side note, I personally hold the opinion that a "former fat me" vs. "new me" mentality can have quite a toxic effect. When you belittle "former fat you", you're always belittling you.

Quote

I know it will take time, and I want my psyche to be as transformed as my body.

Then fake it until you make it.

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Hello Azhiker,
I can relate to your challenges that can coincide with the mind, body, heart and soul. I am 11 years post op and still my own worst critic. I look in the mirror and see a fat girl. But one thing that has slowly changed has been to become outspoken with my thoughts. I also learned not to feel uncomfortable going into an area in any location and feel eyes watching me. My motto is "Learn to control the things that u can the rest leave it to the divine."

It will take time to fully get where you want to be. For beginners, be BOLD and CONFIDENT in anything you do.

Hope the advise helps
Missy cee

Sent from my SM-G960U1 using BariatricPal mobile app

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